THE SUNSHINE CAFÉ
The first of a series by Dick Tynan: "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?"
Room 5 was a twin-bed affair, in the
front of the building on the second floor. It offered an
unobtrusive view of the River Liffey here in Dublin.
just over from England ?" I asked, noticing the
hours later, around noon and time for me to do my rounds.
Every morning at that time I would check rooms, strip
beds where necessary, examine sheets for possible re-use.
The clean ones were sometimes folded and put through the
rotary iron; and pillowcases, in any emergency that might
arise, turned inside-out to be re-used. If the hygeine
sounds a little questionable, I honestly cannot recall
even one complaint during my eight years of tenure there.
Fresh towels and soap were mandatory, and you would'nt
believe the bills for "Ajax" and "Silvo"
- The sinks, you could eat out of them.After the rooms
came bathrooms and toilets and finally the lino-covered
stairs had to be washed daily and waxed once a week.
my way down stairs, somewhat in a state of shock and
still not quite accepting what it was I had just
witnessed. Thinking about it later, and dealing with all
the other emotional aspects too - because, as well as
shock reaction, there were other feelings going on inside
me that I had to contend with as well. Being at that time
still single, and just as appreciative as any other red-blooded
young male of the opposite sex - especially when they
were as eye catching as Julie certainly was, I had to
admit to a sense of jealousy and anger, even - just where
to apply that last reaction, I had difficulty to
returned after a break, later that night, Julie and Mary
were seated in the restaurant having coffee and playing
the jute-box. I can still recall the title of the tune
that was playing, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow ?"
Smiling wryly to myself, but resisting any type of
jocular remark, I decided, on impulse, to join them.
Julies hair in stark contrast to Marys, was waist long and the shade of autumn chestnuts. Her sun-glasses, perched as they were on top of her head gave her a somewhat affected look. Perhaps she was an actress? Or a model even ? I mused no, she had too much figure for that one ! More likely the theatre, which was much populated by people of a different persuasion I remembered. Shame to hide those enormous, brown, waif-like eyes behind sun-glasses. To judge by the low-cut dress her well endowed bust was doing its best to escape imprisonment. While I was dissecting the beautiful Julie, Mary was obviously doing the same number on me and I suddenly became aware of her gaze as she, perceiving my interests assumed a pose palpable in its enmity. Defiantly I ignored her; I concentrated on Julie. Tell me. I asked her, have you ever gone out with a fella? Julie smiled and cast a glance at her companion Well, yes, she answered, matter of fact I have .. when I was in school I went out with loads of them until I was about seventeen and thats, she smiled at Mary, about the time I met you wasnt it, love?
I turned my attention to Mary who was chewing gum, apparently bored by our exchange, she nodded indifferently. Then, of course, you both fell madly in love and lived happily ever after! I exclaimed neither sincere or sarcastic; in truth I felt jealous and helpless too. Both girls spontaneously burst out laughing and all of a sudden I couldnt help feeling that I was the butt of some cruel joke as I am sure many misguided and rejected males must have felt before me.
Mary , at just another conclusion of a game perpetual in its occurrence, looked directly into my eyes. Unblinking and clairvoyant, absolutely correct in the assumption that I had indeed gotten-the-message.
Sleep came slowly, if at all, that night. It would have been bad enough to have to concede defeat to a fellow rival but to give way to a girl well, that had to be the ultimate insult ! I remembered that I had quickly rescued my self-esteem with a glance in the mirror but this was something far more complex for my limited intellect to come to terms with at once. Mary I concluded was a Genetic Misfit she it was who would occupy the male-role in this unfortunate relationship, for which she had, perhaps been really intended by Nature..
Julie, by her own admission had once had natural inclinations. What was it that had propelled her into the arms of someone of her own sex ? Perhaps the victim of some form of child abuse? Perhaps these girls had individually suffered at the hand of some male relative or even a female. Is it, if so, any wonder that Julie became sexually disorientated and consequently was enticed by another maladjusted girl ? It was some days later that I admitted my complete incomprehension of this problem. The only gays I had encountered were on 42nd Street, New York, and they were all exclusively male and their mannerisms definitely effeminate.. Julie was effeminate but Mary was the complete opposite.
Several years later I came across these girls in a supermarket carpark. Still together? I greeted them. Julie laughed, Yes, we are !. Any kids yet ? I quipped, walking away. Not yet, she replied May be next year ! Touché Julie !
© 2002, Dick Tynan with all rights reserved
Illustration © 2002, Jocelyn Braddell